Tuesday, May 22, 2012

no. 53 - paul blair

Who is the man: Paul Blair was in the midst of the peak part of his career in 1970, although a beaning during the season would lead many to speculate that he was never the same afterward.

Can ya dig it: I don't know where this photo was taken. It looks like one of those Arizona spring training sites. But the Orioles are a Grapefruit League team.

Right on: The Orioles have some terrific cards in this set. This is one of them.

You see this cat Blair is a bad mother: Blair was known as the premier fielding center fielder in the major leagues during his career. He won eight gold gloves, including seven straight.

Shut your mouth: I don't think that is possible. Blair's nickname was "Motormouth" because he wouldn't shut his mouth.

No one understands him but his woman: Blair insists that his hitting decline had nothing to do with the beaning but because Frank Robinson was traded away after the 1971 season. Robinson hit behind Blair and he saw plenty of fastballs with Robinson following him.

(A word about the back): The pitch that broke Blair's cheekbone (a different account has the pitch breaking his nose), was thrown by Angels pitcher Ken Tatum on May 31.


  1. Blair batted and threw righty, but I wonder if he signed his name left handed. The slant on his auto is tilted so severly it makes me wonder.

  2. "They say two thirds of the world is covered by water. The other third is covered by Paul Blair."

  3. As a left-hander myself, I know that if Blair was left-handed, the signature would be higher at the start of the first name and then go down to the right (unless Topps tilted the signature as if someone was signing the card at an angle instead of straight-on).

  4. Finally, one right up my alley. As probably the only Paul Blair collector on the face of the earth, I can state Blair definitely batted and threw right handed. He tried switch hitting after the beaning, but the experiment wasn't successful.

    As far as how he wrote, I have 22 on card, nonfacsimile autographs by Blair. There is only one where it is tilted downward from left to right, as NO would expect a lefty to write. The rest are almost equally divided between tilted upwards and level. Make of that what you will.

  5. Paul Blair was as good a centerfielder as I've ever seen. Seriously. He'd play so shallow but if you hit it over his head it had to be over the wall, too. Otherwise he owned it.

  6. That's an intimidating looking dude. The first auto I ever pulled out of a pack was a Paul Blair.

  7. I remember one year when he experimented with batting left-handed. He did not last long on that side of the plate. I cannot find his "experiment" anywhere on the internet.

  8. This was the first baseball card I ever saw, on top of the first pack I ever bought, in the spring of 1971. You paid 10c for 8 cards and a stick of bad-tasting gum. In Canada the cards were put out by O-Pee-Chee; the front was the same, but the back was gold instead of green, had a slightly different design, and the text was in English and French.

    I still have my Paul Blair autograph model glove, bought at Montgomery Ward on a visit to San Diego in 1974.

    Thanks for doing these blogs.

  9. Paul Blair was a terrific center fielder, but the 'covers the earth' quote originally referred to Garry Maddox.